Canes make a trade, stay in talks with Aho and Mrazek as NHL free agency nears

Joe Mazur Image
Thursday, June 27, 2019
Canes working hard on goalie situation
Canes working hard on goalie situation.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Carolina Hurricanes General Manager Don Waddell claims to be spending "eight hours a day" working on the club's goalie situation.

Good thing, because as of now the depth chart is as clear as the Atlantic Ocean.

So late Wednesday night, the Hurricanes made a trade - but not for a goalie.

The Canes acquired Erik Haula from the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for prospect Nicolas Roy.

But back to goalie: Both Petr Mrazek and Curtis McElhinney are unrestricted free agents. Waddell has been in regular contact with Mrazek, but is also looking at other free agents (as he should).

Smart money has Mrazek back and penciled in as the "number one." Waddell is confident he'll have a top-line goalie signed at the start of free agency (July 1).

Trading for netminder Anton Forsberg from the Blackhawks on Monday adds some depth to the backup role. Waddell expects Forsberg to compete with Alex Nedeljkovic, a Hurricanes 2014 2nd round draft pick.

At 23 years old, Nedeljkovic is getting closer to his shot. Waddell said he believes he'll be a starter in the NHL sooner rather than later.

"No doubt about it," Waddell said. "Whether it's this year or the following year or whenever ... all he does is win."

As for Scott Darling, Waddell said the team is trying to buy out the remaining two years of his contract and that he's no longer a candidate to play in Raleigh.

Canes fans might be stressing the signing of restricted free agent Sebastian Aho.

Waddell however, is not.

The two sides spoke in Vancouver during the weekend during the draft and Waddell is expecting to hear back this week.

That said, there is no timetable to wrap up contract discussions.

"This will get done at some point," Waddell said.